oil on canvas, 1782,
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
A brilliant painting. A striking portrait.
One could infer mythical associations from the composition beyond its mere mastery of the art.
The regal isolation and the stern visage of the foreground figure makes me wonder if there is a legend or a folk tale that represents Death as a skater.
Many competent paintings are interchangeable.
They portray pleasant landscapes, splendid sunsets, ships at sea, pretty people, agreeable still lifes -- or their dark, dramatic alternatives.
Like many novels.
Posts at The League of Reluctant Adults presently discuss critiques, of the self and other kind.
And mentioned those MSS which, while otherwise adequate and well-written, lacked a certain excitement, spark, sparkle.
That lack is the one intangible thing that is probably beyond the ability of the self-editing writer to recognize and repair -- if a fix is possible -- without outside advice.
On the other hand, we've all seen pieces we've itched to edit; because, with a few basic improvements in sentence structure or the addition or deletion of details, the bit of work would be brilliant. The writer had that certain spark.
With due respect to subjectivity, I wonder just what creates that sense of scintillation.
Or if it's something of the nature of you know it when you see it. And further, may vary according to the piece in question.
Is it at all identifiable in terms of mechanics?
Or is it a question that remains forever in the no-man's-land of artistic creation?
What say you?